International Working Animal Day 2020

What is International Working Animal Day?

SPANA’s fifth annual International Working Animal Day, taking place on 19 November 2020, is raising awareness about the essential role played by working animals in developing countries around the world.

Working animals – such as horses, donkeys, camels and elephants – are the key workers of the developing world. More than 200 million working animals support the livelihoods of over 600 million people in the world’s poorest communities. By doing the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis – and transporting people, goods, food, water and firewood – these hardworking animals make it possible for poverty-stricken families to earn a small income and put food on the table.

Yet, despite their vital role, this invisible workforce is often completely overlooked. Countless animals lead short, hard lives, working in extreme conditions, with little rest, poor nutrition and no access to veterinary treatment.

SPANA believes that these animals deserve greater respect and recognition. And, more importantly, they need our help.

Who’s supporting the campaign?

John Craven, Patron of SPANA, said:

‘This year’s International Working Animal Day celebrates the animals who are key workers in the developing world: the horses, donkeys, camels and elephants who provide poverty-stricken families with the water, food supplies and transport they so desperately need. These loyal animals work tirelessly and without complaint to ensure the survival of their communities.

‘For thousands of working animals in developing communities, SPANA provides their only hope for vital veterinary treatment. Please support SPANA to ensure that even more working animals are given the respect and care they deserve.’

Paul O’Grady, Ambassador for SPANA, said:

‘It breaks my heart to see how hard horses, donkeys, mules and camels have to work around the world, pulling carts and carrying heavy loads. Despite how important they are, many will lead short, painful lives. Hardly any receive even basic vet care when they’re sick or injured, as it’s often not available and their owners simply can’t afford it. They deserve better. That’s why I support SPANA, the charity that gets free lifesaving vet care to working animals. Today I’m asking you to join me in backing SPANA’s International Working Animal Day. We need governments and aid organisations around the world to recognise the massive contribution of working animals and to make sure they get the treatment, care and compassion they deserve.’

Brian Blessed, Ambassador for SPANA, said:

‘Working animals are true unsung heroes, and they are so important to the poorest families around the world. Without these animals, many people would be in an even more desperate situation and have no income whatsoever.

‘But they need our help. Too many animals are suffering needlessly from pain, hunger and injury – and without veterinary care, which is such a vital necessity. On International Working Animal Day, please show your support for SPANA, who are improving the lives of animals around the world.’

Man in brown coat smiling

Ben Fogle said:

‘For over 600 million people worldwide, a working animal is a vital necessity. Working animals represent their transport, their means of collecting firewood and water, and their only way of making a small income to provide for their families. That’s why I support SPANA’s work offering free veterinary treatment to working animals in need, and why on International Working Animal Day I’m asking that these animal heroes get the recognition they deserve.’

Deborah Meaden said:

‘Working animals are no longer a common sight on the streets of Britain as they once were. But, all around the world, these animals still play a vital role and make it possible for the very poorest families to get by and survive. All too often the welfare of working animals is forgotten or ignored. On International Working Animal Day, please join me in supporting SPANA’s work of building a more compassionate future for working animals.’

Join SPANA ambassador Jim Broadbent in celebrating this year's International Working Animal Day

Did you know...?

It is estimated that between five and 20 people depend on every working equid

One working animal can support the livelihoods of an extended family of up to 30 people

Working equids support an estimated 600 million people globally

50 per cent of the world’s population depends on animals as their main source of power

Read more about our International Working Animal Day campaigns

Take a look at 2019’s campaign Take a look at 2018’s campaign Take a look at 2017’s campaign

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